Welcome to the all-new Vetlearn

  • Vetlearn is becoming part of NAVC VetFolio.
    Starting in January 2015, Compendium and
    Veterinary Technician articles will be available on
    NAVC VetFolio. VetFolio subscribers will have
    access to not only the journals, but also:
  • Over 500 hours of CE
  • Community forums to discuss tough cases
    and networking with your peers
  • Three years of select NAVC Conference
    Proceedings
  • Free webinars for the entire healthcare team

To access Vetlearn, you must first sign in or register.

registernow

  Sign up now for:
Become a Member

Reference Desk June 2012

Fish Study Raises Hope for Spinal Injury Repair

    zebra fish

    VICTORIA, Australia, May 30, 2012—Scientists have unlocked the secrets of the zebra fish’s ability to heal its spinal cord after injury, in research that could deliver therapy for paraplegics and quadriplegics in the future.A team from Monash University’s Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI), led by Dr Yona Goldshmit and Professor Peter Currie, discovered the role of a protein in the remarkable self-healing ability of the fish. The findings, detailed in The Journal of Neuroscience, could eventually lead to ways to stimulate spinal cord regeneration in humans.

    Professor Currie said when the spinal cord is severed in humans and other mammals, the immune system kicks in, activating specialised cells called glia to prevent bleeding into it.

    "Glia are the workmen of nervous system. The glia proliferate, forming bigger cells that span the wound site in order to prevent bleeding into it. They come in and try to sort out problems. A glial scar forms,” Professor Currie said.

    However, the scar prevents axons, threadlike structures of nerve cells that carry impulses to the brain, of neighbouring nerve cells from penetrating the wound. The result is paralysis.

    “The axons upstream and downstream of the lesion sites are never able to penetrate the glial scar to reform. This is a major barrier in mammalian spinal cord regeneration,” Professor Currie said.

    In contrast, the zebra fish glia form a bridge that spans the injury site but allow the penetration of axons into it. The fish can fully regenerate its spinal cord within two months of injury. “You can’t tell there’s been any wound at all,” Professor Currie said.

    Scientists discovered the protein, called fibroblast growth factor (fgf), controlled the shape of the glia, and accounted for the difference in the response to spinal cord injury between humans and zebra fish. The scientists showed the protein could be manipulated in the zebra fish to speed up tissue repair even more.

    “The hope is that fgf could eventually be used to promote better results in spinal cord repair in people,” Professor Currie said.

    Source: Monash University

    didyouknow

    Did you know... For patients with brachycephalic airway syndrome, stress should be minimized, a cool environment supplied, exercise restricted, and an ideal weight maintained.Read More

    These Care Guides are written to help your clients understand common conditions. They are formatted to print and give to your clients for their information.

    Stay on top of all our latest content — sign up for the Vetlearn newsletters.
    • More
    Subscribe